2022 GMC Canyon

By June 1, 2022

The GMC Canyon is a mid-size pickup built on the same platform as the Chevrolet Colorado. It has more possible bed and cabin combinations than most mid-size trucks, as well as good choices among powertrains. It still looks modern but a redesign is expected for 2023.

For 2022 the Canyon gets a new Denali Black Edition that’s appropriately named: it has 20-inch gloss black wheels, black side steps and black exhaust pipes coming out the back.

The standard engine is a 2.5-liter inline-4 making 200 horsepower, but there’s also a 2.8-liter turbodiesel inline-4 that makes 186 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque, so it’s better for towing; its limit is an eye-opening 7,700 pounds. It also gets better fuel economy, but it’s quite a bit more costly.

The third engine is a balance between the two; it’s a 3.6-liter V-6 mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The extended cab has small rear seats more fit for dogs or packages than grownups. and it only comes with the longer bed of 74 inches. The roomier crew cab has a better back seat, and can come with either the long bed or 62-inch short bed.

The 3.6-liter V-6 is the most popular engine, but it’s also the least fuel-efficient, with an EPA rating of 17 mpg city, 24 highway, 19 combined with four-wheel drive. The 2.5-liter inline-4 gets 19/25/22 mpg with rear-wheel drive, while the RWD turbodiesel rates 20/30/23 mp, or 2 mpg less with four-wheel drive.

The NHTSA gives the Canyon four stars in crash tests. The IIHS calls the Canyon’s frontal crash safety “Marginal,” the frontal crash warning “Basic,” and headlights “Poor.”

Model Lineup

Made in Missouri, the Canyon comes as Elevation Standard, Elevation, AT4, and Denali. The AT4 is four-wheel drive, while the others are standard rear-wheel drive with 4WD available for a touch under $4,000.

The Elevation Standard with rear-wheel drive, extended cab and long bed starts at $27,995. It has cloth seats, a 4-way power driver’s seat, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

At about $40,000, the AT4 comes with the V-6 engine, and the crew cab with either bed. Standard equipment includes 31-inch DuraTrac off-road tires on 17-inch black aluminum wheels, red tow hooks, a larger grille, hill descent control, and more available options. For about $1,800 more it adds leather upholstery, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, power passenger seat, heated steering wheel, and wireless smartphone charging.

The Denali turbodiesel crew cab long bed with four-wheel drive runs $50,145. The trim is wood and aluminum, and features include heated and cooled front seats, with optional leather.

The Denali Black Edition for $52,965 adds 20-inch black wheels, a larger touchscreen, and Bose sound system.

The 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty includes one scheduled maintenance.

Optional safety features include forward-collision and lane-departure warnings, and parking sensors.


The traditional and recognizable shapes of GMC trucks work for the Canyon. It doesn’t try too hard to be tough. The wheel arches are square, and the sides are long and flat. The AT4’s off-roadish look includes red tow hooks that stand out, a bigger grille, and 17-inch alloy wheels with 31-inch tires having knobs for traction in dirt.


The instrument panel is very truck-like, with black and silver trim, with big knobs and dials for climate and audio. The small standard touchscreen of 7.0 inches means it’s easier to use the controls on the steering wheel to perform the possible functions; an 8.0-inch screen is available, and that helps a bit. The infotainment interface is user friendly.

Another small thing that makes it feel comfortably like a truck is the gear lever in the console, instead of a pushbutton. The seats are cloth, with leather optional. The Denali turns plastic trim to wood, and the door handles into chrome.

The Elevation Standard extended cab has the 6-foot-2 long bed, while the crew cab can also come with the 5-foot-2 short bed. Both beds are one or two inches longer than other mid-size pickups’ long and short beds.

The extended cab’s very small back seat flips up for more storage, which might be its most frequent use as it’s vertical, rigid, and only gives up 28.6 inches of leg room.

The crew cab is another story, seating three in the rear with a reasonable 35.8 inches of leg room. The cabin is quiet, especially the Denali.

Driving Impressions

The powertrain choices include three engines, two transmissions, and rear- or four-wheel drive. Versions with the smallest engine are built for fleets, but still have 200 hp and can tow 3,500 pounds.

The most common powertrain is an AWD-equipped 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, mated to a quick 8-speed automatic transmission. It can tow 7,000 pounds as a crew cab with the short bed and rear-wheel drive. It’s confident and capable, able to carry up 1,584 pounds of passengers and payload in the bed.

The third engine is a 2.8-liter turbodiesel inline-4 that brings both good towing capability and fuel economy, but its higher cost of about $4,000 will take a long long time to pay off. Its 6-speed automatic could use more gears; it has to work hard during passing and at higher speeds. However, its huge 369 lb-ft of torque compensates a lot, and enables it to tow 7,700 lb.

The Canyon’s low-tech leaf spring suspension causes it to bounce a lot when there’s no weight in back. But, being a mid-size truck, it’s not out of the ordinary, and it’s not difficult to maneuver.

Final Word

The 2022 GMC Canyon sells utility with a lot of personality, especially in its stronger versions. For those who need four-wheel drive, the AT4 trim makes the most sense for a marginal upcharge over the Elevated trim.


—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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